Regarded as one of the greatest serials of the golden era in Pakistani TV, the Arts Council’s adaptation for Shehzori will be helmed by Talat Hussain, who is set to mark his directorial comeback in theatre after a prolonged illness. Moin is currently reworking its script for theatre.Shehzori is credited with being Arts Council’s debut play as an independent theatre production company.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, Ahmed Shah, general secretary of Arts Council, said the team is hopeful the play will hit the stage by August. “The script is almost complete and we will hold auditions in the coming few weeks,” he shared. Recalling Hussain’s response to taking up the director’s seat, Shah said he agreed ‘instantly’, being an elected member of the cultural institution.
Despite immense popularity of the 1970s serial, it wasn’t Shah’s first choice to be staged, as he was planning to adapt another classic, Dhoop Kinarey. “While discussing possible choices for the adaptation, I suggested that Moin should go for Dhoop Kinarey because it’s her most famous play. But she refused, saying she prefers adapting Shehzori as she considers it her best work,” he noted.
On why she opted for the serial, Shah shared, “One common aspect of Moin’s work is the female characters, who aren’t only brave and independent but are also known for their vibrant and lively personalities.” He added, “She was keen on reintroducing that kind of character, especially amid the stereotypical women that are shown on TV these days.
Over the past few years, Arts Council has become famous for staging commercial plays and adaptations of iconic TV serials, most notably Anwar Maqsood’s Half Plate and Aangan Terha, both of which were well-received. “Our plays tend to do well with both critics and audiences. Regardless of that, all sorts of theatre should happen. We try to offer our audiences a value for their money and make sure we offer them with good quality entertainment in exchange for their time,” Shah said.
Open auditions for the casting of Shehzori are soon to take place. Shah described the kind of actor the team is looking for the role of the protagonist. “We want a patakha girl for the main character. She has to be very lively, confident and bubbly.”
Aired on PTV during the 1970s, the serial marked Moin’s debut as a screenwriter. The story revolves around a young couple that gets married without telling their parents. It focuses on the highs and lows of their relationship and how the runaway bride eventually manages to win the hearts of her in-laws. The serial starred Neelofar Abbasi, Shakeel, Mahmood Ali and Khalid Nizami.